A pacifier can be a wonderful tool for soothing a fussy baby. The shape and feel of the nipple is the next best thing to breast feeding and a source of comfort for many infants. If you're in the market for a pacifier, keep in mind that it's not as simple as running down to Wal-Mart and picking one up. There are a few things you'll want to consider.
A one-piece pacifier is important. The last thing you want is for it to fall apart and become a choking hazard, especially if your baby is using it at night when she sleeps. Considering she may be unattended at least while sleeping, you'll want to get the safest model.
Since it's important that the pacifier is as clean as it can be at all times, you'll want to choose a dishwasher-safe model. You can wash it by hand if you're so inclined, but a dishwasher will sterilize it. Hand washing, on the other hand, can leave some bacteria behind. That isn't to say you can't wash a pacifier by hand if you don't own a dishwasher, but you will need to sterilize it in boiling water at least once a week.
A square-shaped pacifier is recommended by dentists and orthodontists but a round pacifier will work just fine and cause no permanent damage. Look for a pacifier that suits your child's age. The package will state whether or not the pacifier is for a baby who is up to six months of age or older. You don't want to give a newborn a pacifier made for a six-month old. The pacifier's shield area should be big enough to cover the area outside the baby's mouth without going inside. You want to do everything possible to prevent choking. The shield area should also have strategically placed air holes to allow the skin to breathe.
Something important to remember is never to tie a pacifier around your baby's neck. Instead, use a device that clips onto the baby's shirt to hold the pacifier in place. It's good for new parents to research any items their babies will be using, including something as small as a pacifier. Just keep your infant's comfort and safety in mind and you'll do fine!